INCOMING Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Noel Clement vowed on Friday, September 20, to focus on curbing communist insurgency in the country.
Clement said the whole-of-nation approach is vital when it comes to the fight against communist insurgency.
"I think ang pinaka-critical factor kasi ngayon is how to bring in everybody onboard against this fight kasi hindi puwedeng 'yung Armed Forces lang or 'yung local government units natin ang lumalaban sa problemang ito, it has to be the whole country," Clement said in telephone interview with reporters.
"This is a national problem so we have to address this as a people, collectively, para talaga magkaroon ng katahimikan sa bansa natin," he added.
He also noted the importance of continuous modernization in the military to boost the campaign not only against insurgency but also against terrorism.
"Some of them are going to take long term, like 'yung territorial defense natin, we still have to develop the capability so medyo ipagpatuloy natin 'yung modernization program natin para ma-address natin 'yun (terrorism)," he said.
Clement, who was born in Lipa, Batangas, is a member of Philippine Military Academy Sandiwa class of 1985.
He held various positions including the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the AFP General Headquarters, where he assisted the Chief of Staff in formulating, evaluating, analyzing and reviewing plans, programs and policies pertaining to operations, organizational development, deployment of forces, and strategic campaign of the AFP from September 2016 to May 2017.
Prior to his assumption as commander of the Cebu-based AFP Central Command in November 2018, he was the commander of the 10th Infantry (AGILA) Division, where he assisted the stakeholders in creating a just and peaceful environment conducive to sustainable development in the area of responsibility.
Clement made it to the headlines when he was implicated in the alleged kidnapping of activist Jonas Burgos in April 2007.
He underwent investigation but was cleared by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of any charges due to lack of evidence.
"If they want to make that an issue, that's their problem, eh sila magpatunay kung may katotohanan 'yun, but I will not explain to them. I have been faithful in my service to our country," Clement said. (SunStar Philippines)